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2015 and the New School Year, 2 Feb Primary ESOL Online Weekly Update

Hi everyone,

        Welcome to Term 1, 2015! I hope you are all refreshed and ready to go. Weather wise it has certainly been a summer to remember. Unfortunately in many regions the first day of school in wet! A big welcome to all the new members, who have recently joined our community I hope that you will find membership helpful. The best way to belong is to jump right in and ask a question or share something that you have found useful or interesting.

Our conversations have already begun this year although this is my first contribution as I have been away. To access any past posts that you haven’t saved you will need to access the archives which are arrange by date. Please remember that to access the archive you now need the following:

username: eesollonline  - please note the double 'e' and double 'l'

password: mailinglist

Whilst this might seem a wee bit inconvenient it is to protect your privacy. I hope that you will bear with (Miranda anyone?) us as we all get use to this new procedure.

·         Catriona shared a great post on Transform literacy and learning in your classroom . 

·         Wendy responded by asking whether anyone is interested in being involved in skyping with some other ESOL classes? This would be a great opportunity to embark on something different in 2015 if you haven’t tried it before. You can read Wendy’s post here. It would be great to hear from any teacher who has already tried this with how you found the experience and any tips you may have to get us all started.

If you are new, or an existing member, you may like to introduce yourself on our padlet page

 http://padlet.com/pandjmcq/gef3nemyta2h . This helps me to get to know you and the sorts of things you would like to see in my weekly updates.


·         One person has indicated on padlet, that they would like to be connected to other teachers undertaking TESOL study this year. If you are interested in being in contact then please email the community and we could look at developing a sub group possibly on the VLN primary ESOL pages. Or you could contact each other independently.

The Language Education and Diversity conference's call for papers for papers has been extended – Now Closing Sunday 15 February 2015, 11:59pm, you can find the information here or go direct to the LED page.

One site you may find interesting to use whilst getting to know your diverse students is My Life Elsewhere http://www.mylifeelsewhere.com/ .  This site allows you to compare life in New Zealand with living in any other country. It also provides some etiquette hints for a limited number of countries. It may help you to understand your new students background a little better or some of your students may find it interesting to explore.  

Another idea is to get your students to create an Our Cultural Village page to share with their classmates. These can be used in a similar way to an 'ethnic box". An "Ethnic Box" is particularly helpful for very new comers to New Zealand. In each Ethnic Box you can place items such as resources, first language books, or books about their country, bilingual dictionaries, pictures from their culture/country, cultural items, music, maps, crafts, costumes etc. Students can share them with other students, helping them to develop their language skills. The items provide something familiar to the student helping them to feel more comfortable and welcomed in your classroom. The box can provide them with a safe place they can go to when they are overwhelmed or the work is too difficult. We would love to hear some of the ideas and items you have added to your boxes that the students love. 

As you get to know your new students and plan your programmes many of you will have questions to ask. No question is a dumb question and most likely someone else is also wondering the same thing. So please feel free to ask, just post your email to primaryesol@lists.tki.org.nz with an appropriate topic in the subject line. You are best to not just click the reply button as it makes finding mail in the archives very difficult.

I would also encourage you to explore the use of twitter in order to follow what is happening in the world of language teaching.  ESOL Online has its’ own Twitter account that you can follow connect to twitter.com/esolonline. Personally I have found using twitter a great way to develop my own PLD contacts and to explore my own interests. I really didn’t see how this could be so helpful until I tried it.

If you not sure about using social media and online tools, you can still access the Starter Kete from Connected educator Month here.

My goals for our primary ESOL Online Community 

I am dreaming of a connected, active primary ESOL community that supports you in your education role in 2015. A place where you feel your thoughts, ideas and questions are valued and welcomed and where you can contribute safely.  So I want to share the goals I have set for the primary ESOL Online community. 

1. That our membership numbers continue to grow and that a greater proportion of members contribute to our mailing list discussions regularly. Every member contributes at least once during the 2015 school year. 

2.  That every member feels safe participating in our community. 

3. That every member feels that their membership is valuable to their teaching/leadership professional development and growth. That each member feels supported, encouraged, and challenged. Discovering at least: 

·         three ideas to implement into their classroom teaching practice

·         one new technology idea

·         several helpful websites 

·         new research / relevant reading to reflect upon each term. 

 If you have a great idea about what you would like to happen in our community then please send an email or write on our padlet page. This site is about the members it is not about me.

I have watched the literacy community grow and change last year and I dream of our community doing the same.  

Enjoy your first week at school.